The Rural Futures Institute (RFI) welcomed the executive directors of its three University of Nebraska (NU) sister institutes — the Buffett Early Childhood Institute, the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute and the National Strategic Research Institute — on Episode 20 of Rural Futures with Dr. Connie, asking them to approach their areas of expertise through RFI’s lenses of future-focused leadership, rural-urban collaboration and high-touch, high-tech.
The podcast, which is concluding its second season with the release of this episode, is available on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, Google Play and Spotify as well as at ruralfutures.nebraska.edu/podcast.
NU has invested in its four interdisciplinary institutes to pursue areas in which the university and the state of Nebraska have unique strengths — early childhood education and workforce; water and food security; research for combating weapons of mass destruction; and thriving rural communities of the future.
Through the institutes, researchers and students from the four NU campuses come together with partners to find innovative solutions and opportunities for the state, the nation and the world.
“Each of the institutes’ missions have a direct value to our rural audiences — through the content of their areas of expertise and their relationships with communities of place and practice,” said Connie Reimers-Hild, RFI interim executive director and host of the podcast. “The experiences of these directors, their visions for the future and their work regarding technology and human capacity in their spaces is critically important for our state’s leaders and residents as well as our listeners across the country.”
Founding Executive Director, Buffett Early Childhood Institute
Interview starts at 01:19
Samuel Meisels is the founding executive director of the Buffett Early Childhood Institute and holds the Richard D. Holland Presidential Chair in Early Childhood Development as well as appointments at each of the four NU campuses.
One of the nation’s leading authorities on the assessment of young children, Meisels has published more than 200 research articles, books, monographs and assessments. He was president of the board of directors of Zero to Three, the National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families, has lectured throughout the U.S. and abroad, and is an advisor and consultant for numerous local, state and national organizations.
Executive Director, Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute
Interview starts at 18:46
Peter McCornick joined the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute as executive director in August 2016 after previously serving as deputy director general of research at the International Water Management Institute, one of the world’s foremost institutions dedicated to improving management of water and land resources to ensure food security and reduce poverty.
McCornick has dedicated his career to improving the understanding of sustainable water resources management. He has led research and development programs on water, agriculture and the environment in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the U.S.
Robert Hinson, Lt. Gen. (Ret.)
Founding Executive Director, National Strategic Research Institute
Interview starts at 34:17
Robert Hinson serves as the founding executive director of the National Strategic Research Institute (NSRI), leading and managing Department of Defense research opportunities for NU. NSRI is sponsored by United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) and focuses on research that helps combat weapons of mass destruction. It is one of 13 DoD-designated University affiliated centers nationally.
Under Hinson’s leadership, NSRI received more than $61 million and 85 contract awards in its initial contract 2012-2018. The NSRI contract has been renewed with a five-year, $92 million contract with USSTRATCOM, through 2023.
Interim Executive Director & Chief Futurist, Rural Futures Institute
Researcher, entrepreneur and high-touch futurist, Connie Reimers-Hild helps leaders and organizations reach their desired futures through strengths-based innovation and strategic foresight. She assumed the interim executive director role for RFI in July 2018 and has since spoken internationally throughout Japan and at the Women’s Forum Global Meeting in Paris while also announcing RFI’s convening of the Nebraska Thriving Index, an economic and quality of life measurement tool for rural Nebraska.
Reimers-Hild has authored or co-authored 55 publications, 10 workbooks, six videos, six coaching tools, three books and one book chapter in the areas of entrepreneurship and leadership. In total, her digital publications have been downloaded by 3,300 institutions more than 70,000 times throughout 175 countries. She has also taught more than 25,000 learners from around the world.
Full episode, bios and show notes at ruralfutures.nebraska.edu/podcast.
About the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska
The Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska leverages the talents and research-based expertise from across the system on behalf of rural communities in Nebraska, the U.S. and around the world. Through a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, the institute encourages bold and futuristic approaches to address critical rural issues. It works collaboratively with educational, business, community, non-profit, government and foundation partners to empower rural communities and their leaders.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.